ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Impact of the Economic Crisis on Workers in the Unorganised Sector in Rajasthan

This article analyses the impact of the 2008-09 global economic meltdown on workers in the unorganised sector of the gem polishing and construction industries in Rajasthan. Based on a primary survey, it was found that in the initial phase of the crisis, workers trimmed their spending on their social life. This was followed by a reduction in expenditure on health and education. As the crisis persisted, they were left with little alternative but to cut down expenditure even on essentials like food, shelter, clothing, etc. Further, distress caused by unemployment and a drastic reduction of incomes exacerbated domestic conflict, violence and depression, the brunt of which was experienced by women and children. The study finds that the impact of the crisis varied between gem polishing and construction industries and it was more severe for workers in the lowest income group in both industries.

We express our gratitude to Rajasthan Mission for Livelihood and UNDP. The paper is a revised and abridged version of a report for a research project carried out for the RMOL. We thank K N Harilal, M Kabir, N D Nerula and Gagan Behari Sahu for their useful comments. The usual disclaimers apply.

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